When we visited Madrid in 2013, it was more like a stopover between Pamplona and Santorini. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the place as much as I did. Two nights there definitely wasn’t enough time. It’s going to be a place I visit a fair bit once we live in Spain.
One of the things that makes Madrid wonderful is the abundance of free things to do there! Pairing these free things with cheap Air BnB accommodation, makes for a really inexpensive day or two!
Here’s one day in Madrid filled with free stuff!
- See the turtles at Atocha station.
You can do this on your way in or out of Madrid. We arrived by train, so we went for a mission to find the turtles while we tried to find the spot to pick up our Madrid passes. It’s a bit strange, and different, but I like different.
- Head to Sol for a look / shop
Sol is the centre of Madrid. It is huge square lined with restaurants, bars and shops. Maybe this place won’t end up being free if you like to shop, eat or drink! We had fun searching the shops for a guitar to bring home.
- Pack a picnic and lunch at Parque del Retiro
This park is huge, it’s so big, you won’t have trouble finding a quiet spot away from everyone. It would be a wonderful place to pack a picnic lunch. There are gardens, fountains and walkways throughout the park. The centre feature is a huge lake. You can take small boats for a trip on the lake (that part isn’t free).
- The Palacio de Cristal (it’s fun just hunting for it)
I don’t know if this should have a number or not, but this small, glass palace hides within the Parque del Retiro. So either before or after your picnic, see if you can find it! We took a while to find it, but we did see most of the park along the way! Some of the photo’s online make the palace seem a lot more sparkly and colourful than it really is, but I enjoyed finding it anyway! There is another small lake with turtles, trees and fountains next to it.
- The Royal Palace of Madrid
Maybe the reason why I like Madrid is all the fountains and lack of crowds? But this palace is huge, and another great photo opportunity. You can do tours, but again, this might not be free (and for us, after visiting Rome and the Vatican, we didn’t feel like any more tours!)
- Conclude your day by visiting the Templo de Debod
I’ve left this to last, but it was one of the most beautiful man made things I’ve ever seen. It is one amazing work of art. I was lucky to visit as the sun was going down and got some spectacular photos. The beautiful lighting reflecting off the water made it very pretty. It’s not over crowded, and the sunset is gorgeous.